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Ottawa reports 52 new coronavirus cases amid long wait times for testing

The Brewer Assessment Centre, operated by The Ottawa Hospital and CHEO, is an out-of-hospital clinic where people can be assessed and tested for COVID-19.
The Brewer Assessment Centre, operated by The Ottawa Hospital and CHEO, is an out-of-hospital clinic where people can be assessed and tested for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Ottawa’s coronavirus case count continues to soar amid “record-setting” testing volumes at the Brewer Assessment Centre.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 52 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, down slightly from the 61 reported on Monday.

Read more: Ottawa’s 61 new coronavirus cases are ‘concerning’, Mayor Watson says

Ottawa also recorded four new deaths related to COVID-19, the highest single-day spike in deaths since late May.

There are currently 362 active cases of the virus in Ottawa, according to OPH’s dashboard.

The number of people with COVID-19 in hospital has dropped to nine, with no one currently in intensive care.

One new coronavirus outbreak was declared at the St. Louis Residence long-term care home, where a staff member tested positive for the virus. The total number of ongoing outbreaks in Ottawa now stands at 19.

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Meanwhile, the Brewer Assessment Centre is seeing “record-setting volumes” of patients, according to a joint statement from OPH, the Ottawa Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).

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Wait times for testing have been clocked at four hours, with extensive lineups at the site even before testing is opened for the day.

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“We are doing everything we can to address the inconvenience of long wait times and line-ups,” the statement reads.

Read more: Ontario ‘losing ground’ in the fight against COVID-19, hospital association warns

The health-care institutions point to an increase in demand for youth testing with the return to school and note there has been a tripling of staff in this area to cope with the increased demands.

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The site will be scaled up to operate 12 hours a day, seven days a week, according to the statement.

Capital Coun. Shawn Menard also said on Twitter that porta-potties are being added for families in line and that a booking system is being considered for the site.

Issues with bookings at the Coventry Road drive-thru testing site have meanwhile been resolved, according to the statement, and the operators are looking at extending testing hours there as well.

OPH will hold a conference call with its health-care partners to address questions from the media surrounding testing on Tuesday afternoon.